Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that involves extracting the third molars at the back of the mouth. This is typically done to prevent overcrowding, infection, decay, and other potential dental issues that can arise when the teeth grow in an unexpected manner or direction.
While the procedure to remove your wisdom teeth is generally safe and straightforward, it can be daunting experience for many. There are several steps and preparation work that one must take before the surgery to ensure that the procedure is able to continue as smoothly as possible.
One common question that many have asked before the procedure is whether they are able to drink water or any form of liquid before their wisdom teeth removal.
The answer is that you cannot drink water 8 hours before your wisdom teeth removal surgery. This is the general guideline that all dentists and oral surgeons recommend to their patients to avoid any unnecessary complications that may occur during the surgery. However, most doctors are general comfortable with patients having one or two glasses of clear liquid up to 2 hours before the surgery.
In the rest of this article, we will explore the topic of drinking water before your wisdom teeth removal and provide some helpful tips to prepare you for the procedure.
No Eating or Drinking 8 Hours Before Surgery
One key step that many patients overlook prior to their surgery is avoiding drinking water in the hours leading up to their wisdom teeth removal.
The first reason is that the consumption of food or liquid may interfere with anesthesia. During a wisdom teeth removal, local (and sometimes general) anesthesia is administered in the gum tissue around the teeth to numb the area and reduce the sensation of pain.
If there is too much water in your body during the surgery, it may lead to pulmonary aspiration, a medical complication where food or liquid from the stomach travels back up and into the lungs. When this happens, the water can obstruct the airway and cause breathing difficulties, wheezing and chest pain. This can further aggravate to pneumonia, a life threatening situation form of respiratory infection where the lungs’ air sacs are inflamed.
This is compounded by the fact that the anesthesia or sedation used during the wisdom teeth removal surgery will affect your gag reflex and ability to swallow, making you more susceptible to pulmonary aspiration.
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That said, most dentists and oral surgeons do not actively enforce the rule and are generally fine with patients having small volumes of clear liquid (water, apple juice, sports drinks) up to 2 hours before your wisdom teeth removal surgery. Avoid tea and coffee as they can raise the secretion of gastric acid and increase the chances of acid reflux.
To summarise, while it is ok to have some water hours before the surgery, it is highly recommended that you fast 8 hours before the surgery to prevent complications during the procedure.
Other Things to Take Note of Before Surgery
Apart from the need to fast prior to your wisdom teeth removal surgery, there are several other things you need to take note of to ensure a smooth and complication-free surgery.
- Inform the clinic of any routine medication. Inform the dental clinic any medications that you are routinely taking. This is to notify the oral surgeon of any potential interaction between two or more medication that may affect each other’s efficacy or safety.
- Do not smoke 12 to 24 hours before the surgery. This is because nicotine can impair blood flow, delay the recovery period, and increase the risk of an infection after the surgery. You should gradually cut down on smoking days leading up to the surgery.
- Wear loose fitting clothes with sleeves to the clinic. The loose-fitting clothing will allow you to move freely and comfortably during the surgery. The sleeves can be rolled up and past the elbow so that your blood pressure can be accurately taken.
- Have someone drive you to and frmo the clinic. After the surgery, you are likely to be still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. As such, you should not drive by yourself after the surgery. Always ask a friend or family member to drive you to and from the clinic. Alternatively, book a ride-hailing service when you are done with the surgery.
- Prepare to go on a soft food diet. After the surgery, you will need to spend the next few days on a soft food diet as you are likely still in pain from the surgery. Stock up on ingredients that can be consumed as a soft food and plan your meals beforehand as you will likely be too dazed after the surgery to do any planning. Some examples of soft food include soups, scrambled eggs, yogurt, ice cream, mash potatoes, or pancakes. Be sure to
- Prepare ice packs. For the next 24 hours after the surgery, your gums and cheek are likely still swollen from the wisdom teeth removal. To reduce the swelling and ease the pain around the surgical site, do a cold compress on the area for 15 minutes, twice a day. When you feel more comfortable, consider rinsing your mouth with a salt water solution; this will kill any bacteria and minimize the risk of an infection.
In conclusion, drinking water before dental surgery is generally not recommended to reduce the risk of aspiration during the procedure. Aspiration can cause serious respiratory complications and may require emergency medical attention.
To ensure a safe and successful wisdom teeth removal surgery, it is important to follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s instructions carefully, which may includes fasting s for approximately 8 hours before the surgery. While it may be challenging to go without water for a few hours, it is a necessary precaution to protect your health and well-being.
After the surgery, you can typically resume drinking water and other liquids as directed. Be sure to have your post-surgery medication and attend your follow-up appointments to ensure a smooth recovery.